Concept store LOCAL includes a coffee shop, barbershop is a single identity under one roof. Abu Dhabi World writer Ferdinand Godinez meets with co-founder Jack Brett to find out more.
So, did you just wake up one day and think, I like coffee, trainers and a fresh haircut, there’s an idea in that?
LOCAL came from a passion for sneakers and an appreciation for quality barbering and coffee.
All these elements have strong cultures behind them in Europe and other parts of the world, and we wanted to be a part of creating and building these cultures in Abu Dhabi.
Still, it’s a strange mix…
We wanted to create a place that combined our interests into one location where someone can go for a good coffee or haircut, but then experience other elements that you wouldn’t be exposed to elsewhere.
With our backgrounds in London and America, we’ve been to great concept stores and this inspired us to create LOCAL – a mix of our passions.
Surely there’s no shortage of barbershops in Abu Dhabi, with one on many street corners. What was the missing link?
I think the [barbershop] culture itself was missing.
In other countries, the barbershop is not only seen as a place to get a cut but also to hang out and catch up with friends.
That experience doesn’t really exist here for a number of reasons. Great customer service and experience go hand-in-hand with talented barbers and that is where we put our focus in the barbershop. It’s all about the customer.
You get your coffee beans from Seven Fortunes Coffee Roasters – the coffee roastery company in Dubai that sources beans directly from farmers – and all suppliers for your coffee shop are also local businesses. Is supporting fellow UAE-based ventures a conscious decision?
Definitely. LOCAL holds a few different meanings but a really important one to us is to keep it local and support other small independent businesses. When looking for new products or suppliers we always look in the UAE first.
It’s tough out there and is therefore important to support each other.
There’s a difference in the terms of quality and experience you get when dealing with smaller and passionate businesses that is hard to achieve when dealing with bigger companies.
We like to work with people who are as passionate about their products and crafts as we are about ours. There’s so much talent and quality in the UAE that is yet to be recognised.
Moving on to the trainers – and I see you have Jordans and Air Max here – where do you source the ones being sold in the shop?
We get our products from all over the world. We try to create an offering of products that are not available in the UAE or the GCC while also offering the highly sought after limited products.
It’s important to us that when you step into our store you get to see products you won’t see elsewhere in the region.
You’re certainly turning some heads with this three-concept approach. Do you think this will soon be a trend here?
It’s always difficult being the first and pushing the boundaries. But now that we have overcome these steps and shown that concepts stores are possible in Abu Dhabi, I’m sure more will follow.
LOCAL is located in Al Zeina Complex, Block C, in Al Raha. Visit: localco.ae